Cran-Apple Crunch Chicken Salad with Creamy Maple Dressing
Sunflower seeds offer a nutritious, mayo-free and dairy-free base to the rich dressing for this elegant winter salad. I prefer to serve the dressing on the side, to create a wonderful lunch or dinner presentation. For a lighter side salad that will serve six, simply omit the chicken. Photo: Chris Gonzaga
Makes: 4 servings
Free of: gluten and all top allergens
Creamy Maple Dressing
- 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seed kernels, preferably roasted (see how to safely roast seeds here)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2-4 tbsp plain or unsweetened milk alternative (rice, coconut or flax)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups sliced green cabbage
- 2 cups sliced purple cabbage
- 2 cups torn green lettuce
- 1 large apple or 2 small ones, diced
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 3-4 cups cooked boneless skinless chicken breast or turkey
- freshly ground black pepper
- Place sunflower seeds in a spice grinder or food processor and process until powdered.
- Move ground sunflower seeds to a blender and add other dressing ingredients (use 2 tablespoons of milk alternative). Blend until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes.
- To help the dressing thicken and build flavor, chill it in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 1 day.
- If needed to reach desired consistency, whisk in up to 2 tablespoons additional milk alternative.
- To create the salad, plate the cabbages and lettuce. Top with apple, chicken and cranberries. Serve dressing and black pepper on the side. For a tossed version, place all salad ingredients in a large serving bowl, drizzle with the dressing, add black pepper to taste and toss to evenly coat.
Easy Pan-Fried Chicken
For even cooking, I prefer to pound the thick part of each chicken breast with a meat mallet until the entire breast is roughly consistent in thickness, but this is optional.
- Sprinkle both sides of the breasts with salt and pepper, and optionally dust with cornstarch or potato starch.
- Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook 1 minute, or until lightly browned on the other side. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes. Do not lift the lid.
- Keep covered, remove from heat, and let the chicken sit in the warm pan for 10 minutes.
- Slice to serve over salad.
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